I don’t know if the Blackhawks will win the necessary two more games to take this series from the Oilers. However, I’m not sure it ultimately matters. Because for one afternoon, it was fun to watch playoff hockey with a whole bunch of scoring. Sign me up for more games like that, please.
• They’re baaaaaaack:
• Check that out! Appearances by Cole Kmet, Jaylon Johnson, Mitchell Trubisky, Nick Foles, Anthony Miller, Roquan Smith, Keandre Jones, Rashad Smith, and Trevis Gipson. It’s a 16-second snippet of football happenings, but it gave me all sorts of happy feelings. Football is coming. Sure, the process to get to football is going to be different. But the NFL is working to get to that point. So long as the team adheres to protocols set in place, the arrow will point in the right direction.
• In this installment of Adam Hoge’s “10 Bears Things” column at NBC Sports Chicago, Hoge sprays to all fields and provides a solid scene-setter for the start of camp. For example, Hoge touches upon Trubisky’s new look, rookie expectations, the potential impact of no college football, and reserves whose progress is worth tracking. Even with trimmed rosters, a wonky offseason, and a summer without preseason, there’s a lot to cover on the horizon.
• Chris Roling (Bleacher Report) puts together a list of NFL free agents who could be targeted by teams looking to fill players who opted out of playing in 2020. Defensive tackles Domata Peko, Mike Daniels, and Snacks Harrison stand out as players the Bears would be wise to kick the tires on. Nose tackles are on our mind with Eddie Goldman opting out, but there are other players at positions the Bears could stand to add depth. Above all, the list reminds me how many experienced players remain unsigned.
• Damon “Snacks” Harrison remains the name I’m los interested in should the Bears decide to add to their defensive line. Put aside his 2019 in Detroit, and Harrison should otherwise be a highly-sought-after free agent every team wants. Harrison was PFF’s Run Defender of the Year in 2018 for his ground-stuffing escapades. It was his fourth consecutive season earning that distinction from the analytics insiders. From 2013-18, Harrison’s 254 run stops (as recorded by PFF) were the most in football among interior defensive linemen. A distant second on that list? Akiem Hicks with 175. Considering that the Vikings will lean on Dalvin Cook and the Packers will do the same with Aaron Jones, I like the idea of teaming Harrison and Hicks at the line of scrimmage.
• It’s also worth noting the Bears could stand to add players after teams cut rosters to 80 players. There could even be some players who might be better fits for what Chicago wants. We’ll keep our eyes out on the waiver wire as it develops over the upcoming weeks, as I’m sure the Bears will, too.
• Khalil Mack is dang good:
• These guys are having fun online:
— Da TailGate Show ™️ (@DaTailGateShow) August 1, 2020
• Ooh! This could be fun:
• *heart-eyes emoji*
Ordered one of these beauties yesterday. Going to look great on a MM HQ wall. https://t.co/ces3hidiiJ
— Kevin Kaduk, Midway Minute (@KevinKaduk) August 1, 2020
• Always nice to see an ex-Bear find his way into the coaching ranks:
Washington's DBs coach Chris Harris, a former safety out of the University of Louisiana Monroe, was a 6th-round pick by Chicago in '05. In talking to media, he was asked how his route to the NFL shaped his coaching, especially in working with guys like @iv_jimmy and @IAM_GSIII: pic.twitter.com/VCS5BCROpV
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) August 1, 2020
• Yeah, but are you worth more than the eighth pick in the third round of a snake draft?
I think I’m more than $3 dollars and 8 cents??? https://t.co/wUUJHfGClV
— Kerryon Johnson (@AyeyoKEJO) August 1, 2020
• Browns tight end David Njoku has rescinded his trade request. He’s ready to play ball:
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 1, 2020
• A noteworthy safety update that slipped past me near the end of the week:
Samples of the Oakley face shields have been shipped to all 32 clubs so that players can begin ttying them out, providing feedback. This will be first opportunity for players to test. As players provide feedback over next few weeks, engineers will tweak design.
— Stephania Bell (@Stephania_ESPN) July 30, 2020
• In other words, we’ll soon learn how players could adjust to equipment needed to play in a pandemic. As a reminder: Face shields are recommended, but are not expected to be required. I’ll be curious to see how many players opt in after testing them out. Or if the league will mandate it as a safety precaution. In conclusion, I don’t think this is the last we’ll hear of face shields this summer.
• A pair of nuggets regarding playing in a pandemic via Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. Firstly, the NFL and NFL Referees Association are still working through protocols, including those for potential opt-outs. For all the importance we put on the NFL and NFLPA getting things right, I almost allowed referees to slip through the cracks. It’s quite difficult to have games without officials, so getting this squared away is important. I’ll be curious to see how this plays out because of the variables in play. For instance, as Florio points out, many officials have non-football jobs, which could play into the decision-making process.
• Secondly, in an appearance on #PFTPM, Dr. Allen Sills – the NFL’s chief medical officer – continued his commitment to the NFL’s “virtual bubble.” But Dr. Sills also added the caveat that the league could move to put all players, coaches and staff in a hotel. The decision would be a measure to minimize the possibility of a player catching coronavirus away while away from the team, then bring it back. As far as I’m concerned, any step toward mitigating risk is one worth taking.
• I hope this is something college football considers in the future:
The ACC and SEC announcing 10-game conference schedules got us thinking: Why don't they do this every year?
1 G5/FCS game
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) July 31, 2020
• On the other hand, I wonder if we’ll even get a college football season in the first place:
The Post obtained an audio recording of a video conference between worried college football players and SEC medical officials
“It’s not good enough.”https://t.co/ZNwKeEPxEa
— robertklemko (@RobertKlemko) August 1, 2020
• Elsewhere on the college scene, student-athletes of the Pac-12 are taking stand:
The Players of the Pac-12 will opt-out of fall camp and game participation due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns unless the conference guarantees in writing to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons. #WeAreUnited https://t.co/KQ3oqdB5BL
— The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) August 2, 2020